It occurs to me today that I miss the days of Armageddon and Independence Day, shoot, I even miss Men in Black. I miss these days because the worst possible scenario no longer comes from outer space. There is no longer some vague, distant, science fiction threat that is the worst thing imaginable. We have seen destruction, and for the time being, it is enough for us. The incredible threat of bombings and wars are all too real, and the idea of an asteroid destroying the planet is taking a distant second place to terror, homeland and beyond.
The mindset of a society is easily determined by the films they produce and watch. There was a sort of innocence in a society who was intrigued by films about outer space and aliens, which has been eroded and replaced with films about terrorism, warfare and strife. There is a conservative movement in film. I don't mean conservative in a political sense, rather in the returning to the basics sense, a sort of fundamentalism that is manifesting itself in film. Films are based on what we know as reality, what we can relate to, and a cataclysmic asteroid is no longer in this category.
There are some things that remain the same. The heroes, they are the same. I can watch Bruce Willis in Armageddon and see the sense of responsibility and honor and duty that are protrayed in the soldiers depicted in today's war films. Watching the bravery of the men and women who were sent to destroy an asteroid, or fight off aliens, remind the audience of the brave men and women who are today fighting al-Qaeda and insurgents. Today, there are amazing heroes to look to every day, we don't need to dream up wild scenarios for them to prove themselves, they do it every day, and they do it for much longer than an average movie.
I liked the days of Armageddon-ish films. I liked the days when I could sit in a movie theater, be taken to the end of days, and then be brought back. Because today, I don't have to sit in the movie theater to do that. I know that there are serious security threats and that there are real heroes out there who are facing very real trials. I thank God for them, and will do anything I can to help them.